The Detroit Tigers might have found a gem in Kevin McGonigle.
Last fall, during the draft process, the rankings started to shake. Pieces started really moving up and down the draft board, and teams continued to do their prep. For the Detroit Tigers, landing Kevin McGonigle in the first round became even less of a reality as the spring went on, plus the fact that they moved up to the third overall pick in the first MLB Draft Lottery.
The Detroit Tigers opted to get their guy at no.3, going with outfielder Max Clark, who is expected to join the organization with plenty of projection all over the field with tons of tools. However, a teammate of Clark, Kevin McGonigle, was the Tigers' second pick in the draft.
In the 2023 Compensation Round A, the Tigers held the 37th overall pick in the draft. This is where they selected McGonigle, the prep infielder from Aldan, Penn. who is committed to play for Auburn at the next level, though the Tigers are hoping to bring him into the organization.
He's another prep bat to add to the system, who is going to take some time to get there, but the 5-foot-11, 185-pound infielder is going to be someone the Tigers are glad they have. He might just wind up being a hidden gem at the top of the Tigers draft class.
He may not be the next greatest infielder on the block, but there are things he does well and things he will be able to do to keep getting better. He's got polish in the batters' box with a ton to like when it comes to his actions.
It's a left-handed swing that stays pretty compact, with a toe-tap into the contact with a noticeable weight transfer working to it. Though, he is able to stay on plane well and drive the ball to all fields, being a prospect who flat-out hits.
McGonigle's operation in the batters' box is smooth, but he also shines on the dirt. He's a shortstop/middle infielder by trade but likely will settle in as a second baseman in the long run. He's athletic and agile, but the profile projects to see him favor second base down the line.
The thing that stands out the most for me is that he wants to play like Chase Utley. He mentioned Utley as his favorite player, and it sounds like McGonigle will bring that gamey, rat-like playstyle to the table, and if he can do that successfully, things will work out well.
Bringing McGonigle into the Tigers organization is exciting, especially knowing that you have good teams to watch this slot. The Tigers should be happy with McGonigle, he's not the best defender, and it has not really gotten better.
He seems like one of those players who will be tough to play against down the line. While he may not be the next biggest prospect with a ton of barrel speed to hit 500-foot bombs, he could be impactful for the team down the line.
The Tigers being able to make something work and extract value from McGonigle will only make the baseball rat narrative hold true. There's plenty to like with McGonigle, he has a high-ceiling, and the Tigers have to be excited about bringing him in during the 2023 MLB Draft.